Our children must win the battle against iPads

Evading the duties of properly raising a child by throwing an electronic device is a social disaster

Turki Aldakhil

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The easiest way to escape the trouble of educating children and training them about the real world and its challenges is to throw few devices at them. It is a way to convince yourself that you have bought a certain device for a certain amount of money and that it is performing your educational duties or to think that you’ve made your child aware of technology.

Technology worries experts. There’s a whole virtual reality that attracts people through technology, a reality full of serenity and dreams. However, the duty of parents is to train their children to understand the real world, not the virtual one.

Back in the old days, games represented life. A boy would go outside and play with his relatives and neighbors. The neighborhood was the arena of physical development as it allowed one to directly interact with people and challenged them.

The real world

The simplest example of physical activity was to play soccer in the neighborhood. Girls would play with girls of their own age at home. They played with other people, of flesh and blood, and did not just play games within a virtual world.

Evading the duties of properly raising a child by throwing an electronic device is a social disaster

Turki Al-Dakhil

A few days ago, actress Salma Hayek told the British magazine Red that it’s important for children to participate in life instead of just sitting in front of their iPad screens.

“You have to drag children into participating in life. It takes a lot of work and mummies are very tired because for most of us work and life is exhausting, especially if you are an older mom like me, but you have to make the effort. Now it’s so easy to just entertain them (with a screen),” she said.

I am not against technology but evading the duties of properly raising a child by throwing an electronic device is a social disaster that will not only reflect on a child’s behavior but also on society as a whole.

This article was first published in Okaz on June 5, 2016.

Turki Al-Dakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.